Jump to content


Rugby League World - Grand Finals Issue

RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD - THE GRAND FINALS ISSUE - OUT 17 OCT OR DOWNLOAD IT NOW!
Try our Fantastic 4-Issue Bundle Offer:
For just £14, a saving of 10% on the regular cover price, you’ll get:

The Grand Finals Issue (out 17 Oct) – Grand Final drama from both hemispheres plus Four Nations preview
The Four Nations Issue (out 21 Nov) – Fantastic coverage of the Four Nations tournament down under
The Golden Boot Issue (out 19 Dec) – A look back at the 2014 season plus the big reveal of the winner of the Golden Boot
The 2015 Season Preview Issue (out 23 Jan) – How will your team perform in 2015? We preview every club.


League Express

Podcast

ckn

Member Since 19 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:21 PM
***--

Topics I've Started

NHS strike

13 October 2014 - 10:49 PM

I did fully intend to stay out of this, mainly due to my nice new job, but I read this and thought I should post it.

 

1. People think the NHS is expensive.  It's not, the British spend less per head on state healthcare than any other G7 nation.  That includes the US where you're thrown in a skip if you can't afford a simple prescription.

 

2. People think NHS staff are overpaid.  They're not.  Permanent staff get far less than any private equivalents that I know.  Even contractors get about 1/2 to 1/3 of their private equivalents.  I thought there were typos when I saw how little some of the staff underneath me were paid.

 

3. "but they get increments!".  Erm... there's a reason why the current system exists, it's to reflect the experience band from bottom to top of a role, as you gain experience you move up the band.  The band itself must move with inflation, at least, or it really means people lose income.

 

4. "1% is all we can afford".  Really?  The economy is expected to grow at 3% this year and wages have gone down 15% in real terms in the last 5 years.  Maybe, as the Governor of the Bank of England bluntly said, it's time to start paying workers more again to catch up that deficit.  Also, how much did MPs get paid as a pay rise?

 

5. "Competition is what the NHS needs".  No, it isn't.  It's just amplified the problems by turning the UK's largest company into thousands of small ones, all with the buying power of small companies rather than one large beast that can dictate terms.  The NHS needed reorganisation, but what it needed was effective management at a regional and national level.

 

6. "There are too many managers".  No, there aren't.  There are one hell of a lot of director level managers in the NHS who get paid less than middle managers in the private sector but with twice to three times the responsibility and half the effective support.  The brakes that are put on innovation by central government are just staggering and really stop the good managers from making a difference.

 

I could go on but it's bed time...


Liverpool win Super League title

12 October 2014 - 05:37 PM

Well done to them!

 

Amazing what gets caught in a Google Alerts daily email...


Moderation note: Name change

08 October 2014 - 07:03 PM

As part of the agreed thing about letting you know about changed names, here's one:

 

Trojan Horse was constantly getting confused with the esteemed, and long in the tooth (in forum terms anyway), Trojan so I've changed his name to Yosser.

 

And, no, we won't change anyone else's display or usernames without a very good reason!


Benefits reform

02 October 2014 - 07:04 PM

A good friend of mine is in the unfortunate position of needing to claim for Personal Independence Payment benefit.  She lodged her claim in December 2013.  It is now October 2014 and she still hasn't had her mandatory interview.  The DWP say they can do nothing at it's all ATOS's fault, ATOS say "wait your turn" and no-one knows anything about when that "turn" will ever emerge.  It's a bloody disgrace that she's had to wait 10 months and there's absolutely no hint when she'll ever get the benefit.  There are plenty of stories of people waiting well over a year for it.

 

A wonderful benefit reform by our Tory and Lib Dem government.  I think they're hoping people will just up and die before they get paid benefits.  Do they think that the people who need to claim this benefit are really in the position to have to wait that long?


Holiday review

28 September 2014 - 03:01 PM

Back from holiday in Sorrento, Italy, for a friend's wedding and there were a few notable things that are worth stating.  The holiday itself was fantastic and I'd be happy to go again!

 

On the way out:

Gatwick:  Does it really have to be that miserable and unwelcoming?  Really?

 

On the holiday:

Food:  It really highlights how poor food is in the UK when eating out, the Italian food was better and substantially cheaper.  I even risked getting a steak and it was perfect so we went to different places and I had steaks there, perfect again.  Compare that to the UK where I refuse to order steaks as they're invariably abysmal, regardless of how high status or low the restaurant is, or the chef thinks he knows better than me what I want.  Then there's every other thing that was ordered, excellent and you can tell the quality of the food is better.

 

Customer service:  It just worked.  Apart from over-pushy waiters on the marina area the service was immaculate, again some of the better restaurants in the UK could be doing with sending staff there to learn that customer service is more than just shoving food in people's faces.

 

Scenery:  Sorrento is just fantastic.  Really it is.  And a trip down the Amalfi coast then back around Capri on a small rented boat has to be one of the highlights.  We stayed at the Grand Hotel Aminta and I'd thoroughly recommend it, it's outside the town at the top of the hill overlooking Sorrento with outstanding views, there is a 1:1 hill walk into town (there is a shuttle bus!)

 

Roads:  This is the big negative of Italy, the persistent stink of scooter fumes in towns, it reminds me of early 90s central London.  Also, the standard of driving is just scary.  Tiny bendy roads with aggressive driving regardless of the vehicle and traffic directions (including lights) that seem to be suggestions only.

 

Sorrento itself:  A lovely little town.  No big chain stores at all beyond two minor clothing shops.  Rustic qualities and plenty of things to do.  It's not a party place and I, thankfully, didn't spot a single football top in my entire trip.  I really didn't get why there needed to be Scottish, English and Irish bars there, who goes on holiday to do the same things as at home?  Getting from Naples to Sorrento can be difficult though and costs a decent amount by private hire car.

 

On the way back:

Does Gatwick really have to be that miserable and unwelcoming?  The first impression that people get coming to our country through Gatwick is this miserable grey structure that seems like a cattle processing pen getting through the immigration desks that are way underprovisioned for the amount of traffic coming through it.  Then there's the very public "pen" area where immigration officers quiz foreigners, right by the queues.  The police officers there did well though in being tolerant of the chirping from all those in the queue who were unhappy about the excessive delays, they did try to be helpful but the passengers weren't that receptive.  The official valet parking is a bit of a bargain though if you book it long enough in advance.